Earlier this week, DIB chief executive Frank McKenna and other city business leaders called for the establishment of a business Cobra. The metro mayor Steve Rotheram pulled this together and we publish his thoughts on the discussion that took place below.  

Dear colleagues ­

Re: Actions from call between the Metro Mayor and LCR business leaders

Thank you for taking the time this morning to share your concerns and expertise regarding the impact the coronavirus outbreak is having on workers, businesses, the third sector, and other economic stakeholders across the Liverpool City Region.

As we all agreed, this is a period of great uncertainty and only by working together can we ensure that the Liverpool City Region – and all who live and work here – are able to navigate the difficulties of the coming months and ensure, where possible, that this outbreak does not push local people into economic hardship.

On our call, we outlined four pillars of business support and agreed a fifth:

  1. Translating national and regional programmes into a Liverpool City Region context
  2. Brokering and investing finance in order to maximising the amount of money that comes to the city region during this time
  3. Establishing an impact and assessment team to ensure we are understanding what the needs of the city region are
  4. Providing a “feedback loop” to government for local businesses to ensure our needs and interests are heard at a national government level
  5. Supporting and planning for the recovery of the local economy

The clearest mandate you gave me is to push government how exactly it will distribute its response funds. Time is of the essence, particularly for sectors like the visitor economy and the hospitality industry, and I will be taking your concerns and suggestions to government and seeking urgent clarification on:

  • What steps government, local and national, can take to guarantee wages during this period of enforced isolation
  • Whether government would consider providing short-term payroll grants to cover the cost of wages during this crisis
  • How access to Statutory Sick Pay and Universal Credit can be streamlined to ensure those who are affected by the coronavirus have the resources they need
  • What measures will be put in place to protect renters

Our local authorities are pulling out all of the stops to provide support and I know that our business community is desperate to assist in whatever way it can to mitigate the effect of the economic uncertainties we face. Only by working together will we ensure that our coordinated response reaches those most in need.

I will be making urgent representations to government on these issues, as well as asking for responses to the specific concerns raised in relation to individual sectors and geographic areas within the Liverpool City Region.

Please continue to participate in our coordination efforts, to provide a single, persuasive voice for the Liverpool City Region’s business community straight to government.